Chin Chun Hock

Somebody forwarded me an article on Wikipedia. Actually as of today, the article contains 4 sentences:

Chin Chun Hock was the first Chinese man to settle in Seattle. He arrived in 1860 and was employed as a domestic worker. By 1868, Chin Hock had founded a general merchandising store, The Wa Chong Co., at the foot of Mill Street. He owned the Eastern Hotel which housed the first Asian workers in Seattle.

Well, that’s not very satisfying. There is more to be known, but how to find it? True, there is likely stuff at the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle and in the archives of the University of Washington, but it would be too much trouble to get at those for a lunchtime-project. Let’s just dig around. English sources on the internet are fairly useless, but they do point out that Chin Chun Hock got a fellow Toisan’er (Chin Gee Hee) as junior partner to run their Wa Chong Co. trading and contract labor operation in downtown Seattle. Actually they are related. I think Chin Chun Hock is Chin Gee Hee’s paternal first cousin once removed (族叔). It turns out that Chin Gee Hee later raised lots of money, went back to China, and built a railroad to his hometown – the first one built entirely with Chinese capital and engineering. Seems like this could be the thread to a lot more information about both of them, and so it was.

First of all, we learn of Chin Gee Hee’s Chinese name (陈宜禧), clearly written on this book. A search on Google in Chinese easily turns up 175 articles about the guy and of course, his partner Chin Chun Hock, the Wa Chong Co., and whatever else we might want to know. Well darn, that wasn’t terribly hard at all.

So, Chin Chun Hock’s Chinese name is 陈程学. The Wa Chong trading company in Seattle is 华昌, literally, Chinese Properity Co. The more interesting tidbits are from Chinese sources, and I will quote just one below…



In February of 1905, Chin Gee Hee paid his own way to Hong Kong, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver among other places to raise funds from overseas Chinese. He used a patriotic fund-raising slogan that excited the overseas compatriots: “Using Chinese capital to build a Chinese railroad; using Chinese ingenuity to engineer a Chinese project; using the power of the Chinese people to create a miracle in Chinese history!” Countless overseas Chinese were moved by the slogan and quickly donated $2,758,412 (US Dollars?), four times that of the original plan. On February 17, 1905, the San Francisco Chinese newspaper Chinese-Western Daily printed an editorial titled “The hope of creating the Sun Ning Railroad” which read, “Looking over the railroads of all 22 administrative provinces, the rights to all of them are controlled by foreigners, except those of the Sun Ning Railroad, which are complete.” Of course, at the same time that the support poured in, Chin Gee Hee also heard an opposing voice. His first-cousin-once-removed Chin Chun Hock (1844-1927), for example, said he was in over his head, and made a bet, “If you actually finish the railroad, I promise not to ride your train.” Afterwards, the railroad was completed and Chin Chun Hock himself also returned to China to consult for the Canton-Wuchang Railroad and serve as the Director of the Tung Wah Hospital in Hong Kong. But every time he went back to his hometown, he had to take a boat from Hong Kong to Jiangmen, then take another boat from there to Toisan.

Here’s another one of the same incident:



With the completion of the Sun Ning Railroad, the people of the entire county were overjoyed, except for Chin Gee Hee’s ‘uncle’, the American railroad engineer Chin Chun Hock, who felt regretful. Because even before Chin Gee Hee went home to build his railroad, he had invited Chin Chun Hock to help. Chin Chun Hock looked unfavorably on Chin Gee Hee’s capability, however – not only did he disapprove, but he even ridiculed with, “A dog with a tail jumps, and a dog without a tail also jumps. If you build this railroad, I promise never to ride your train!” Now that the railroad had been completed, Chin Chun Hock felt he had lost face, so he resigned himself to taking a boat or carriage when he went home.

Here is something on the Wa Chong Co. There is a bit of disagreement on the business partner relationship



The Wa Chong Co. started in 1868 by the pioneer of Seattle’s Chinatown, Chin Chun Hock, is the oldest and very well known wholesale and retail business (in Chinese American history). It traded tea, firecrackers, Chinese fans, etc., and also sold cigars, provided tailoring services, and engaged in import/export trade between the US and China. Chin Chun Hock once sent 4000 bags of American flour to Hong Kong in a single shipment. Importing Chinese tea through Hong Kong to the US was an even more frequent business. Chin Chun Hock’s partner Chen Guan Ye is also a Toisan’er. In 1860, Chin Chun Hock’s ‘nephew’ Chin Gee Hee also came to Seattle, and he learned his trade at Wa Chong. In 1888, he left Wa Chong and started Quong Tuck Co. (lit. Broad Virtue Co.) with some people at Washington Street, and began engaging in labor contracting and construction (note: the labor and construction went to the Northern Pacific Railway and Seattle’s trolley system). He took the title of manager and became a proprietor himself. is said that Chin Gee Hee left Wa Chong because Chin Chun Hock wanted to focus on the merchandise trade and not on labor contracting (of Toisan’ers shipped to the US).

For something different, this article says that in 1900, Chin Chun Hock started some sort of ‘Shun’ ancestral worship society to promote ancestral virtues, piety, and Confucian social mores. (‘Shun’ is a mythical emperor and one of two progenitors of the Chinese race, apparently.)

Interesting. Perhaps some day, somebody will take interest and inject this into Wikipedia.

Although Chin Chun Hock holds the title of “first” in Seattle (and was one of the first non-indigenous people to settle in the area, making the Seattle Chinatown as old as the city itself), it is Chin Gee Hee who gets most of the PR and historic notes, including some that claim he had good rapport with the Chinook Indians (e.g., speaking their language) and with a number of influential white businessmen and technologists of the day. Chin Gee Hee is also the one with his photos all over the internet, but so far I haven’t been able to find one of Chin Chun Hock. Just from these sources, it seems that between Chin Chun Hock and Chin Gee Hee, the former was the more traditional and conservative of the two in business and life…

The Chinese term 族叔, if I have this right, corresponds to first cousin once removed, but carries more information. In particular, Chin Chun Hock’s paternal grandfather is Chin Gee Hee’s paternal great grandfather, and, Chin Chun Hock is younger than Chin Gee Hee’s father.

By the way, the postulated relationship between Chin Chun Hock and Chin Gee Hee is probably correct, because according to this genealogical survey on the Toisan Chin/Chan/Chen’s, the generation names for the clan that Chin Gee Hee belongs to (六村 – Six Villages) are as follows:


In Mandarin, this is:
Zu De Ci Guang Yu, Ming Ting Zhuo Mao Liang, Xue Yi Zong Kong Meng, Hua Guo Yi Wen Zhang.

Xue is the Hock in Chin Chun Hock.
Yi is the Gee in Chin Gee Hee.

So there you have it, Chin Chun Hock in a nutshell.


  1. January 11th, 2007 | 4:40

    [...] The only really flat part of Seattle is the industrial/stadium/international district along the shores of the Duwamish River, which can be seen in the image, flanked by West Seattle and Beacon Hill. Seattle could have developed along the only river in the city: Seattle was almost called Duwamps, after all … but no, people had to go live on hills instead of flat land (yeah, ok, there was too little of it and it was an Asian ghetto from the days of Chin Chun Hock). January 11th 2007 Posted to Uncategorized [...]

  2. Teresa Woo
    February 25th, 2008 | 0:03


    I’m a relative of Chin Chun Hock so your article/entry is of great interest to me as I have limited knowledge of this man. Please tell me about yourself. Are you related and how did you come to be interested in Chin Hock?


  3. me
    February 27th, 2008 | 17:53

    I’m not related to Mr. Chin. Somehow the topic came up about the first Chinese people in Seattle, and this post is the result of a bet that much surprising information can be found about just anybody simply by connecting the dots on the public internet.

  4. Teresa
    February 29th, 2008 | 15:21

    Oh, okay, thanks for posting the information. I also found your suggestion to search in chinese intriguing. I don’t read chinese… unfortunately, but just out of curiosity I copy/pasted Mr. Chin’s chinese name into google, got a ton of results, translated some of them to English. It will probably take months to sort through but it’s a start.


  5. December 5th, 2008 | 14:01

    hope u found out more info on Chin Chun Hock

  6. E.Y. Tong
    August 13th, 2009 | 2:00

    1. These Chin gentlemen were supposed to have Native American connections: one of them, according to my information, traded with the Chinook Indians as well, and eventually married one of the Chinook princesses when he became financially capable, and eventually returned to China.
    2. Does anybody have information on a Mary Hall Wong, reportedly a Colville Indian elder who was killed in an auto accident? She had a son named Bernie White Bear. I took a trip to Colville, WA, a few years ago, but was unsuccessful in obtaining any information. Perhaps Mary Hall Wong was of another era a long time ago and she left no record on her life.
    3. I am a retired man, living in Seattle, and interested in Sino-American history, and would like to participate in your digging. I have a friend who is a descendant of Chin Chun Hock and the Indian princess. I believe she may be able to shed a lot of light on this subject.

  7. roger woo
    August 18th, 2009 | 13:52

    I am a relative of Chin Chun Hock (on my mothers side). According to my great-grandfather – Chun Lung Key, his father Chin Chun Hock (or his spelling Chun Ching Hock) married an American Indian woman named Mary Carey. It has been written that she was a princess of the chief Sealth family a Suquamish or Duwamish Indian. I have a photo of Mary with Chun Lung Key – the father of Chun Yai Yee is my grandfather. I would very much like to be in contact with you or your friend to share our findings.

  8. E.Y. Tong
    September 6th, 2009 | 0:22

    To: Roger Woo. If you are a descendant of Chin Chun Hock, you are related somehow to my friend Ruth Seung of San Francisco. Ruth is a great-granddaughter of Chin, that is, her mother was a daughter of one of Chin’s two sons by the American Chinook princess. Ruth has an uncle, that is, her mother’s brother living in Seattle with his children.

    I am just a retired person trying to write for self-entertainment, and I am very much interested in the legacy of the Chi-Am. At the moment I am trying to write a semi-fictionalized story entiteled “Gentleman Chin, Smile-at-Moon, Chin Gee Hee and the Xin Ning Railroad”, and would be glad to share with you when done. By the way, I’ve also seen the genealogy charts in Ruth’s possession and it may provide a clue as to your relation in that scheme. Give me a call at 206-527-8792 if you like; the best time to call is in the evening. Regards, E.Y. Tong 9/5/09

  9. E.Y. Tong
    September 6th, 2009 | 17:13

    TO: Roger Woo. Ruth just emailed me two photos; one shouod be of Mary Carey (Ruth did not put in a caption)with her two sons (I guess one of them should be your grandfather); the other one is of a huge family photo with a total of perhaps 30-40 people, taken perhaps in the 20′s or 30′s, but very clear. If these pix are of interest, please contact me at your earliest convenience. I had forwarded your comments to Ruth and she is very excited. If you are in Seattle, she would like to come up to meet with you and to visit her uncle (at 90+ years old). She can come before 9/23, or after 12/28, as she will be away. Please contact me with some urgency. Thanks. E.Y. Tong

  10. E.Y. Tong
    September 13th, 2009 | 10:18

    I don’t know if Roger Woo has seen my messages above, but I would dearly appreciate his response here or by phone so we can take the next step to complete this part of the Chinese-American legacy. Roger, if you see this message, please do respond at your earliest convenience. E.Y. Tong

  11. E.Y. Tong
    September 13th, 2009 | 10:33

    If Teresa Woo also sees this message, my friend Ruth Seung and I would like to get in touch with her as well. Are Teresa and Roger related? Please respond. It appears that many of the offspring of Chin Chun Hock and Princess Mary Carey are now settled in North America, but there was no evidence at all to show that Mary’s two sons did return to America.

  12. roger woo
    September 17th, 2009 | 15:34

    E.Y. Tong – roger here. Teresa is my sister. you can contact me directly at [email protected] I reside in new york, teresa in glendale CA. we were just in Seattle in early august. not sure when we will be there next. Is Ruth’s uncle named Lowen?

  13. Teresa Woo
    September 17th, 2009 | 16:07

    E.Y. Tong – Roger and I have been researching our Great Great Grandfather Chun Ching Hock (sometimes seen as Chin Chun Hock) for a many years. How exciting it is to find this thread. Hopefully it will lead to finding more relations. My email is [email protected] if you and or Ruth would like contact me directly. Yes, Ruth’s uncle could possibly be Lowen and her aunt could be Lillian. There are two daughters Sharon and Susanne, therefore possibly cousins. Sharon gave me the photo of Mary Cary with the two boys. One of them is our great grandfather.

  14. E.Y. Tong
    October 22nd, 2009 | 12:30

    Roger and Teresa: I just came back from a 5-week stay on the East Coast, and was delighted to see your responses. Let me assure you that Ruth will be very anxious to connect with you, at least through your common NA heritage; and I am very happy to have made direct contact with you two from my interests in Chi-Am history and heritage. My single motivation is to leave some oral history to my children and their generation, who may sooner or later ask about their roots. I will email you directly in a day or two with some of my essays on that subject, and hope that we can start something significant and meaningful regarding our place in America.

    Cheers and best regards,

  15. V.P.
    June 4th, 2010 | 18:46

    I just came across this message post and would like to be in touch with you, Ruth and my other long-lost relatives. I am a great-great-granddaughter of Chun Ching Hock from the same bloodline mentioned above. I would greatly appreciate it if you would email me at your earliest convenience. I would be delighted to speak with you!

  16. T
    June 22nd, 2010 | 11:33

    Fascinating. I’m related somehow, not quite sure, but I recognize multiple points of connectivity.

    With regards to Mary Hall Wong – I know some of her descendants, probably can dig up contact info, if you are still looking.

  17. E.Y. Tong
    June 23rd, 2010 | 13:00

    TO: V.P., T., and Warren (who has emailed me recently)
    My collection of essays, and data, has been compiled and entitled, “A Foot Print or Two in Chinaman America” with some pictures. This volume, though not too large, is over 4 MB, and therefore too large to send via email. If I can delete some of the pictures, may be the volume will shrink a little and be allowed by comcast web master. So please let me have your addresses and we’ll see what I can do.

    I have not been able to get on this MIT web for a long time, until Warren told me recently it is accessible again. So here we are.

    Cheers, E.Y. Tong

  18. T
    June 23rd, 2010 | 18:51

    EYT: I can be reached at [email protected]. If you are still interested in Mary Hall Wong, I might be able to provide a little information there, too.

    Thanks very much!

  19. Teresa
    June 24th, 2010 | 12:48

    Hi Eugene,
    Thanks to you and this blog, to those who have found it and contributed, we now know of relations previously unknown, but we knew they were out there. Roger and I have communicated with Virginia Price and Ruth Seung who are now reaching out to their relatives to identify the connections and pieces to what I imagine to be an immense genealogical puzzle. We are also trying to see what connection we have with T and Warren.

  20. Teresa Woo
    July 19th, 2010 | 11:46

    To “Me”,

    All this time I thought this blog was written by E.Y.Tong. I would like to thank you for posting this blog as it was the main point 2 years ago that started the Chin Chun Hock Project, an effort to create a modern version for those generations of descendants wishing to know their roots. You may not have know that CCH had 12 wives so you imagine there are a bunch of us out there. Thanks again!!

  21. Teresa Woo
    July 19th, 2010 | 11:52

    To “Me”,
    And all this time I thought this blog was written by E.Y.Tong. Are you Warren?

  22. Shan
    September 5th, 2010 | 3:01

    Wish to post a few comments.
    To: EYTong
    1. Mary Carey, the Indian Princess, had three sons. My great grandfather, Chan Lung Key, was her 2nd son.
    2. Ruth’s mother was the daughter of Chan Lung Key’s eldest son
    Chan Wai Hung, so Chan Wai Yee was her uncle #5, Chan Wai Chung, Lowen,
    her uncle #11 and my grandfather Chan Wai Yan, her uncle #4.
    To: Teresa and Roger
    1. My father is living in North Seattle, he is 87. You probably had
    met him and his family before, in 2003 at Grandaunt Dorothy’s funeral or almost 20 years ago, at her 80th birthday party held at China Gate
    Restaurant in Seattle International District.
    2. CCH had 11 wives. If you have that 1924 big family photo, the young
    woman sitting next to CCH was his 11th wife. She was about 20 at that
    3. Granduncle Lowen and Grandaunt Lillian had been keeping in touch
    with this ‘Grandma 11′ until she passed away about 12 years ago. Since
    Granduncle Lowen is the grandson of CCH, he is the best source, most eligible one to tell the family story.

  23. Teresa Woo
    October 27th, 2010 | 17:50

    Hi Shan,
    Thank you for posting this information to the blog which is already serving to patch together some holes in the family tree! Is your father Chan Cho Yum? I may have met him. I have a hazy memory of your Grandfather, Uncle Bob. I think that he lived across the street from Dorothy and Douglas in the retirement home.

    The other posters to this blog have continued the conversation in personal emails and an online Family Tree has been launched? If you would like to join in, please let me know by emailing me at [email protected].

  24. Vincent Chan
    February 4th, 2011 | 16:06

    I am the second youngest grandson of Chin Hock and my father is the only living son at the moment (he is 97). I know a lot about the hostory of the family and have a number of old photos to share if people are interested.

  25. Teresa Woo-Murray
    February 27th, 2011 | 12:23

    Hi Vincent,
    I am very interested to learn more about your father and your branch of the family! I am a great great grand daughter of Chin Chun Hock and #2wife Mary Carey. If you would like to share stories and photos please email me at [email protected]. I have also sent an invitation from Geni ancestory website ( for family members only)

  26. Teresa Woo-Murray
    May 29th, 2011 | 16:45

    To All:
    It is with sadness that I post here that on May 16th,2011, Eugene Tong (E.Y. Tong) passed away. His passion for Chinese American history and the fascination he had in our family’s story brought many of us together. He relished every tidbit of information shared about Chin Chun Hock and helped us who are not literate in chinese language with translations. I considered him, though not related, an honorary member of the Chin (Chun/Chan) clan. He is fondly remembered in my thoughts and prayers.

  27. Ben Chan
    January 17th, 2012 | 5:37

    I come across this web page totally by accident. My father is the #4 son of Chin Chun Hock, and I am his youngest grandson and currently lives in Canada. Vincent, of course, is my first cousin and he is the second youngest. His father is the #5 son of Chin Chun Hock.

    I have been to Seattle and visted the Wing-Luke Museum (before they moved), and admired the Kong Yick building where Wa Chong was located at one time (which is now the Wing Luke Museum)

    I have a 4 volumes hand written (in Chinese) “family tree” albums tracing the history of the Chin (Chan/Chen) family going back to the first generation when the family migrated from Northern China to Southern China, back in the Ming Dynasty, more than 600 years ago.

    Vincent and I belong to the 23rd generation since the migration.

    Since my father’s death in 1967, this document has not been kept up to date. Prior to that, with the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) and the Chinese Civil war between the Nationalist and the Communist created gaps in the document. Also, the children of Chin Chun Hock had scattered around the globe, and unfortuantely, the document is incomplete becasue of that. There is very detailed description for the children of Chin Chun Hock and my siblings; but details (such as birth dates etc) are missing for most others.

    I am also fearful that the document may have ommissions (especially related to Mary Carey and her children). We were aware of her but I have found no evidence of her in the documents (she might have been given a Chinese name and that would create a lot of problems trying to figure out which one is her).

    If I interprete the family tree volumes properly, Chin Chun Hock’s wife died at age 32 in China, but I am not sure if it was Mary Carey. (I have not heard of her English name until now)

    According to my documents, the three oldest son from that wife are as follow:

    Oldest son (Hong Yee) lived only for 20 years and was buried in China.
    I have his birth and death dates in the Quing Dynasty lunar Calendar format.

    Second son (Chun Yee) lived for 61 years, past away in 1937 and was buried in Hong Kong. He has 7 sons and 4 daughters, with son Wai Hung, being his eldest. The docuemnt listed the names of his siblings as well. The document stated that Chun Yee was the Qing Dynasty envoy to South America around 1910, and has been to Peru, Mexico etc.

    Third son (Sung Yee) pasted away at age 50 in 1931, and has one son. Sung Yee was buried in China.

    As you can see, there are some common information but it is not enough to decipher for sure.

    I wanted to get in touch with my distant relatives who had returned and stayed in the US after Chin Chun Hock had returned to China, I wanted to find the missing pieces of the family history.

    I was told that there is a building in Seattle with Chin Chun Hock’s name engraved on it somewhere. I would love to have a photograph of the building, if it still exist.

    I also have the sales receipt (a listing of his belongings) in Seattle and the amount he sold it for when he returned to China for good. The docuemnt is in decent shape and you can still read the content.

    Unfortunately, I do not have time to process all the documents in my posession. The 4 “family tree” volumes would total in the range of 1,000 pages, and they are “binded” with strings, in the traditional Chinese book format, making it difficult to photocopy or scan without damaging it. The first 2 volumes relates to events prior to Chin Chun Hock, volume 3 is about him and volume 4 is about my father and his children.

    When I have some free time, I will try to assemble a few simple items that can be easily emailed and shared, or provide a web link to share.

  28. Ben Chan
    January 17th, 2012 | 5:47

    Correction: the family migrated from Northern Chian to Southern China in 1205, during the late Sung Dynasty and not the Ming Dynasty as indicated in my earlier post. Sorry for the confusion.

  29. Lorraine McConaghy
    January 17th, 2012 | 17:24

    Delighted to find this conversation; hope you don’t mind my participating. The 1880 US census for King County lists 242 residents born in China. This is two years before Expulsion Act, six years before Seattle anti-Chinese riots. There were more than 3100 residents in the territory, born in China. The 1880 census is accessible online in Heritage Quest or at any public library in Ancestry. The census is marred for research by the enumerators’ clumsiness at writing Chinese names, but I wonder whether anyone has identified Chin Chun Hock in that census? Could he possibly be identified with the Wa Chong company itself? Look at census line 600/636, on Washington Street, for the entry “Wa Chong,” merchant, born China, age 32, with two children. SO VERY unusual for a man born in China to have a family in US, though I see no wife listed. Thank you for your thoughts, Lorraine

  30. Can you hear me now?
    February 17th, 2012 | 17:35

    Ben –

    part of the building in question still stands. that section does not bear the engraving.,-122.331432&spn=0.001087,0.00309&t=m&z=19&vpsrc=6

    Appendix I Pioneer Square_LatestReleased_DPDP_020559.pdf

    ID # 162
    Address 406-410 2nd Ave
    Historice Name Monterey Hotel/Lexington Hotel
    Rank Historic, Contributing (north wing)
    Architect -
    Date 1909; Ca. 1929

    a LOT of information has been researched in the past 2.5 years.

    regarding mary, she was #2 wife to cch and was written in as surname ‘lee’ in the register. mary died in china ~30 years of age. also a wife #11(?) that was in shanghai(?) that isn’t in any(?) of the registers. twm has a low-resolution ca.1920s photo of the building. you can find a copy by searching the university of washington(?) web site. (don’t recall the exact source, so you’ll have to search; historylink(?))

    the four volumes would be interesting, quite amazed it’s 1000 pages. that must include the generations leading up to the immigration to modern day guangdong or contain a wealth of detail regarding every individual recorded. several different versions of the register have already been found from the different branches.

    some of the family would be very interested in the receipts. they have handwritten notes with shareholder stakes and such.

    they did reach out to vincent over a year ago, but i’m not sure if they stayed in contact. vincent has a family photo from ca.1920; about half of the wives and many of the children are present.

    i’ll let them know you’re trying to contact the extended family…. if you haven’t already made contact. you should put a contact e-mail on your website.

  31. Can you hear me now?
    February 17th, 2012 | 17:49

    Lorraine -

    dont have access to the census at the moment. the information you present sounds about accurate. cch actually had a wife in china at the same time he had a wife in the us. this was a fairly common practice. in total, he had between 11-13 wives before he passed. (i don’t recall the details, and there are rumors of wives that weren’t known to other branches of the family). it was very uncommon to have so many wives, although still legal at the time.

    cch often went by the name ‘wa chong’ (and various spellings). you can find several articles in old seattle newspapers regarding him.

    the building cch owned was located at 2nd ave & washington st. #406-410.

    even before the exclusion acts chinese women were generally not allowed to immigrate. exceptions were made for merchants, which cch was. so he was allowed to bring wives, sons, and daughters with him during his travels. he was also well connected with several of the pioneer families of seattle.

    it is unfortunate that transcriptions of chinese names varied so wildly. it makes research very difficult.

  32. Teresa Woo-Murray
    February 17th, 2012 | 18:58

    Ben – You have landed at the right place to find out more about Chun Ching Hock’s life in America. This very blog is the place where many of us who are descendants of CCH have found each other. One thing I already know is that you being a son of CCH son #4 then you have 43 brothers and sisters! I have met only a few of them from the branch (by email). Grace, Teresa and Mabel. I have also met your cousin Vincent and his wife.

    I grew up in Seattle and I am a great-great-granddaughter of CCH and Mary Carey. Mary Carey was a Native American from the
    Suquamish/Duwamish tribe and married at around the age of 17. It’s true she died in China at age 30-32. We learned this from testimony in immigration documents of CCH and his son Lung Kee (#2 son). My grandfather Wai Yee was Lung Kee’s #5 son. Wai Yee and my grandmother Pui Nog lived upstairs above Wa Chong Co. when they first arrived after marrying in Hong Kong.

    There is Wai Yee’s brother #11 who is still alive at age 97 living in Seattle. My brother and I visited him last summer and interviewed him! We know quite a few relatives in the Mary Carey branch.. as well as others from other wives.

    Please feel free to email me. I think we can share a lot of information with you and you with us. You can reach me at [email protected].

    Sincerely, Teresa

  33. Teresa Woo-Murray
    February 17th, 2012 | 19:07

    Dear Lorraine,

    Nice to see that you have found this blog! After discovering about your book about the Decatur, I emailed you regarding John Taylor’s drawings, looking for the one of Suquardle in the collection back in August of last year.

    We have been following a trail in search of our great-great grandmother, Mary Carey’s, wife of CCH, lineage. Much rumor is that she was related to Chief Seattle and we have some clues, though on shaky ground. Kathy Zetterburg sent me a jpeg of the drawing! One clue is that Mary’s sister is related to Chief Curley (Suquardle).

    You can see from the comment threads that I and my brother have met many newly discovered relatives. I don’t know if it’s mentioned in the thread, but CCH had 11 wives!

    If you would like to find out more, please feel free to email me. My brother Roger and I have compiled quite a lot of information including or 200 news paper articles in Seattle newspapers.

    [email protected]



  34. Teresa Woo-Murray
    March 6th, 2012 | 13:52

    Hello Ben,
    I hope Grace has sent a message to you. I would like to send you the photo of the building with CCH name engraved on the front. That building still stands today, but unfortunately that floor with the engraving was removed some time ago. My email is [email protected].

  35. Anonymous
    May 7th, 2012 | 18:28

    Hi Teresa, CCH has 11 “official” wives, plus an unofficial one in Singapore. The fmaily found out about her after she passed away and she sent her aide (servant) to HK and met with my father and gave him the news. Of all the “wives” (or concubines), I only knew and had a relationship with one, #11, as we visited her often while she was still alive in HK (and I was a very young lad at that time) and she had given me toys, candies etc as I am her youngest grandchild! (althpough my father was born from a different wife)

  36. Teresa Woo-Murray
    May 10th, 2012 | 14:16

    Hello Anonymous from Comment #35 – please let us know who you are. One of family members has been searching for the 12th unofficial wife. I would guess this is Vincent!

  37. Ben Chan
    May 16th, 2012 | 13:14

    This is the “story” that was told: CCH had a mistress in Singapore (or Malaysia) and he left a staff/aide there to look after her and the business interest that was there. The income from the business interest would support her and all the expenses.

    After she passed away, the loyal staff/aide went to HK and seek instruction on what to do with the business as it is under the family name. What I understood was the family gave the business to the loyal staff/aide as a gift and reward for looking after the mistress all this year.

    Based on chronological sequence, the mistress should have been there before wife #11 for sure, and we will have to check CCH’s travels (if we can chart them) and see when he was there.

    On a separate note, I had come across a picture of my father and his wife #1 (Wong) on board the Queen Mary. Unfortuantely, the picture was undated and it did not show location except it was on board the Queen Mary. They looked to be in their 50′s so I am guessing that the picture should be between 1936 and the start of the second Sino-Japaness war in 1938 as the ship was converted to a troop transport in 1938.

    It is also possible that the picture was taken after WW2 as the ship was converted back to an Ocean liner, but that would have to be in the late 40′s only as my father lost the use of his legs and required assiatance with his walking.

    It is quite possible that they were visiting various CCH’s business interests overseas, and met up with CCH’s mistress on their travel, or discovered that she had since passed on and closed up shop instead of the other story.

    It is also quite possible that the so call “mistress” was a loyal staff member’s daughter or even CCH’s clan member. With the rumor mills, it became unofficial wife #12 or mistress instead.

  38. Teresa
    May 22nd, 2012 | 0:14

    In regards to Ben’s comment above, I am please that this conversation is educating me about the history of what the family went through… separation due to famine, wars, distance, revolutions, relocation. It astounds me that the family was so large, that CCH kept it all together by building whole villages to house them or move them in whole from one place to another, for their safety and to keep everyone together. To those who lived through those times, your stories need to be told. We are typically quiet and reserved to speak up. I am interested in hearing your stories as is also my brother Roger. We seek not to dig into personal lives but to paint a picture of our interesting history for our future generations. Our family history is recorded as far back as 1000 BC. There has been a gap. I’d like to fill that gap and keep it going.

  39. June 20th, 2012 | 19:01

    Chin Chun Hock now has an official Facebook Page!!! Titled “Chin Chun Hock, American Pioneer”. The page will feature his accomplishments as an American Pioneer and describe how he created his wealth, helped build the foundation of the City of Seattle, endured the anti-Chinese sentiment of the times and built trade between the U.S. and China/Hong Kong. Please visit our page and press the “LIKE” button!

  40. September 9th, 2012 | 12:54

    Hi everyone!
    My name is Shirin and I am the niece of the Ruth Seung whose name keeps popping up in this message chain. In 2002, I wrote a children’s book, Ruby’s Wish, about my grandmother. Chin Chun Hock was her great-grand-father, her “tai going”, although he appears as her grandfather in my book. (The concept of four generations all together in one house might have beggared belief in the west.)
    In 2003 or 2004, I went searching for my native American great-great grandmother. I visited the Suquamish Museum, and spoke to the curators. I left them with the photo (mentioned above), of the native American woman with her two sons. I also showed them a newpaper clipping that claimed she had been the daughter of Chief Sealth/Seattle.
    They said that, at that time, one elder was still alive who had been alive during the time of the great chief. They called him Old George. They would show him the photo and the article.
    Disappointingly, Old George did not recognize the photo, and all of Chief Seattle’s daughters are apparently accounted for. The Suquamish therefore do not believe that she was one of theirs.
    Next weekend, September 14-16, I will be back in Seattle with my aunt Ruth to visit her uncle, Ruby’s brother. I hope to find out more then. If any of you are in Seatlle, please let me know! My email is [email protected]. I will be coming back for a longer trip in November. I’ve yet to even visit the Wa Chong store!
    Would love to hear from any of you if you have tips or suggestions of things I should see/investigate while I’m there.

    All best,


  41. Teresa Woo-Murray
    October 4th, 2012 | 18:25

    There are a few accounts in print that Mary Carey, Chin Chun Hock’s native American wife was a daughter of Chief Seattle’s, but there is no actual proof known of. As Shirin states, all of Chief Seattle’s daughters are accounted for. Chief Seattle’s family tree does not mention her, though a second wife is shown having 5 children with the boy’s names listed and the girl’s only referred to as “girl”.

    There is some evidence that Mary Carey had a sister. The sister, Jennie and her husband were summoned to immigration to testify on behalf of CCH son, Chun Lung Key, that he was born in Jennie and her husband’s home in Port Orchard, Washington in 1877. We have found several documents on Jennie (Harmon) that mention Mary. Jennie also has made statements that lead us to believe that if she was not a daughter of Chief Seattle, that she and Mary are related in some way.

    I still believe that Mary Carey was Suquamish. She was married to CCH at the age of 16 in 1869. She went to China in 1883-84 and passed away at the young age of 32. Our relatives we’ve met who were born in Hong Kong or Toisan always heard the family refer to Mary as The Princess.

    I’m hoping we can find descendents of Jennie Harmon one of these day to help us find out more about our great-great-grandmother.

  42. January 23rd, 2013 | 14:14

    If you would like to know more about Chin Chun Hock, please visit the Chin Chun Hock American Pioneer facebook page! I have posted many images and interesting facts about his life and much more to come in the future!

  43. June 16th, 2013 | 21:57

    You folks have been doing some wonderful research. We had no idea that there was so much fascinating Chin Chun Hock data out there.

    We have just posted a bit of new information about CCH on the website of the Chinese in Northwest America Research Committee at It includes a full version of Lucile McDonald’s biographical article, new references to newspaper accounts of his travels, and the wonderful quote from CCH translated by “me” (?), aimed at Chin Gee Hee: “A dog with a tail jumps, and a dog without a tail also jumps. If you build this railroad, I promise never to ride your train!”

    We will shortly be publishing letters between Chin Gee Hee and his former employed, Mrs. John Brown, that show he was impatient with CCH staying so long in China during 1879 and 1880, and that the accepted accounts of Chin Gee Hee’s early life are not completely true.

    Does anyone have a picture of CCH that we could post on the CINARC site? It would be wonderful to know what he looked like.

  44. August 23rd, 2013 | 14:07

    Dear Chuimei Ho and Ben Bronson,

    Nice post! I can send a photo of CCH to you if you give me an email address. You can send your contact info to me at [email protected]. Thanks for adding the info to the CINARC site. I will make a link to it in the Chin Chun Hock American Pioneer Facebook page.


  45. Ryan Loong
    November 13th, 2013 | 4:25

    Hello everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone had any more information on the connection between Chin Chun Hock and Chin Gee Hee. Most sources claim that CCH was the first chinese to settle Seattle and that CGH was younger than him and became his partner. It is logical to assume that they are somehow related since they are both of the Chin clan and both from Longmei village in Toisan. The initial poster translated the first article as CCH being CGH’s ‘first cousin once removed’. If this is the case, then I think it means that Gee Hee’s father is CCH’s cousin? Can anyone confirm this? And on the off-chance that they can, what are the names of the relatives in between?

    Also I noticed they were both born in 1844. If I didn’t belong to a chinese family, i’d say that it’d be odd to be of two different generations to be born in the same year. But alas, I see it a lot :)

    I am a great-great-grandson of Chinn Yen Yee (Yin Yi in some spellings). According to my late grandfather, Yen Yee was a first-cousin of Chinn Gee Hee, their fathers being brothers. However, I do not know the names of their fathers, nor of any other of Chinn Gee Hee’s other relatives besides his son. Does anyone know where I might be able to find more information about this? I know this seems to be a thread more focused on CCH But any information could help.

    Also, I live in the Seattle area and plan to make trips to the Wing Luke museum and UW library when I get some time this holiday season.

    I had pretty much given up going any further out in the family tree than Chinn Gee Hee until I stumbled upon this thread tonight! You all have done some amazing work! :)

  46. Ryan Loong
    November 14th, 2013 | 5:17

    Ok, I just found out from my aunt that she was mistaken about Chinn Gee Hee. She got the names mixed up, and says that we are actually more closely related to Chin Chun Hock. According to my great grandfather, Pak Jung Chinn, HIS grandfather was Chinn Sum Hock, brother to Chinn Chun Hock. Can anyone else from the Chun Hock branch verify this? Do they know the names of Chun Hock’s father, grandfather, or other brothers?


  47. Ben Chan
    January 15th, 2014 | 0:39


    Gee Hee’s father is CCH’s cousin. This information is correct. According to the “tradition”, CGH is a “clan nephew” (or blood nephew) of CCH, They are members from the same family tree (blood line) but CGH is one generation younger than CCH.

    CCH belongs to the 21st generation on the family tree after the founding father of the tree migrated south. CGH is from the 22nd generation, so CGH’s father is from the same generation as CCH so they are “cousins”, sharing the Chinn family tree. As far as I know, CCH & CGH’s father are NOT first cousins as they are not from the same grandfather.

    No idea who Sum Hock maybe. CCH has only one older brother (Wun Hock), and based on information I have, he stayed in China. Wun Hock had 5 sons and 2 daughters, with the 3rd son died at a young age. The 5 sons’ names are: Kwong Yee, Ming Yee, Fai Yee, Tek Yee and Gi Yee.

    Pak Jung could possibly be the first son of Gi Yee. I can only confirm it if I have the proper Chinese name. Pak Jung is close enough pronunciation depending on the dialect. An interesting note: since Fai Yee passed away at a young age with no children, Pak Jung was “moved over” to Fai Yee’s tree which was common practice at the time to keep family tree going. So according to the family tree, Pak Jung is the son of Fai Yee. That is only if we can confirm your Pak Jung is the same Pak Jung listed in the “book”.

    I just want to make sure I have your family tree line correctly:
    Yan Yi is your great-great grandfather.
    Pak Jung is great grandfather.
    Sum Hock is Pak Jung’s grandfather, which is CCH’s brother
    According to your info, that would make Yan Yi, Sum Hock’s son
    Do you have your grandfather and/or your father’s Chinese name?
    With your last name being Loong, would I assume your mother or grandmother a Chinn (Chan)?

    I know of CYY and he is from the 22nd generation and he is CCH’s 4th son so the information is different from yours. (You would have him as Sum Hock’s son or CCH’s nephew). CYY has 19 sons and Pak Jung wasn’t one of them. CYY named his sons name with Jung first such as Jung Yung, Jung Shing, Jung Wu etc.

    Hope the info helps.

  48. Teresa Woo-Murray
    August 31st, 2014 | 18:26

    On September 23, 2014 the Chun Ching Hock (aka,Chan, Chin, Chinn, Chen) family will be represented by yours truly at HistoryLunch. This event, a fund raiser for the history community of Seattle and will focus on Seattle’s Waterfront. Since Chun Ching Hock was an American pioneer whose very first store, Wa Chong, was located on the waterfront where Seattle began, I have been invited as a co-chair to the event. Though I will not give a presentation, I will still be there to represent the Chun Ching Hock, American Pioneer project and make contacts with the history community to promote our mission with a handout postcard/flyer. Thank you to those who have donated to make this trip happen! I am so grateful for your support. If anyone isinterested in seeing the Chun Ching Hock American Pioneer project continue and want to lend your support, please contact me – Teresa Woo-Murray at [email protected]. After the even I will report back here (since many here aren’t on Facebook) with news of the event.

  49. Teresa Woo-Murray
    August 31st, 2014 | 18:33

    The email address I gave in the previous post #48 is wrong. Here is the correct email, if you wish to reach me. [email protected] So sorry about that.

  50. September 8th, 2014 | 16:40

    NOTICE: The name of CCH Facebook page has been changed. This is the new URL.

  51. Ronin
    September 13th, 2014 | 22:53

    – Ryan –
    Sum Hock was cousin to CCH.
    gen15: 茂豐 –> (1)魁良, (2)和良, (3)吉良
    gen16: (1)魁良 –> 穩學, 程學 (CCH)
    gen16: (3)吉良 –> 森學 (sum-hock)
    gen17: 森學 –> 燕宜, 藻宜
    gen18: 燕宜 –> 培瑧[伯宗] (pak-jung)
    gen19: 培瑧[伯宗] –> 廸穰, 廸會
    If “PJ” was your great-grandfather, talk with Melvin. Someone in that group has kept a relatively updated tree.

    – Ben –
    族叔 is inaccurately translated. An accurate translation makes CCH and CGH’s father SECOND-degree cousins: CGH’s GREAT-grandfather was brother to CCH’s grandfather.
    堂叔 would make the two men FIRST-degree cousins.
    叔 would make the two men brothers.

  52. September 17th, 2014 | 12:16

    Hello Ronin,

    Just curious. Are you related to CCH or CGH?

  53. September 17th, 2014 | 12:32


    In your genealogy chart posted in comment #51, I see the CCH is listed as Gen. 16. I see in our Family Biography CCH is listed as Gen. 21. This is a recently updated version of the tree.

  54. Ronin
    September 18th, 2014 | 1:51

    > CCH is listed as Gen. 16
    I read my notes wrong.

    The generation number depends on where you start.
    For ‘Six Villages’ CCH is generation 21.
    For ‘Long Mei’ village CCH is generation 17.
    For Chan/Chen/Chin CCH is generation 107 (in the tree I have).

  55. Ronin
    September 18th, 2014 | 2:01

    Regarding CGH (陈宜禧).

    CCH (程学蔑)’s grandfather is CMF 茂豐
    CMF 茂豐 had three (known) brothers: CMN 茂鰲, CMS 茂實, CMY 茂遠

    If the relationship CGH-CCH is 族叔, one of the three brothers CMN 茂鰲, CMS 茂實, CMY 茂遠 should be CGH’s great-grandfather. I do not have lineage for CGH (陈宜禧) or the brothers.

  56. September 18th, 2014 | 14:31


    How interesting and confusing.

    a) I thought Long Mei is the ‘Six Villages’

    b) I haven’t seen or heard of the tree with 107 generations.

    All of our trees, which have been maintained by CCH son’s say CCH is generation 21.

    I’m am curious about your 107 generation tree.

  57. Ronin
    September 19th, 2014 | 0:35

    note: i didn’t look up the chinese… so it might be wrong, but the info is correct (it’s difficult to enter chinese in a non-Chinese computer).

    Long Mei 朗美 is an area in Luk Tuen (Six Villages) 六村
    Luk Tuen 六村 is currently part of the Dausan 斗山 area, but it has been part of several different areas in the past.
    Dausan 斗山 is an area in Toisan 台山
    Toisan 台山 is an area in Canton 廣東

    (Think of it like street, neighborhood, city, county, state…)

    Toisan 台山 used to be known as Sunning/Xinning 新寧 before early in the 20th century, thus the Sunning/Xinning railroad 新寧鐵路.

    Toisan 台山 was originally one of the Szeyip (Four Counties) 四邑, but in the past few decades a fifth area has been added, creating the Five Counties 五邑

    The Six Villages 六村 is a collection of small villages centered around a market town 沙坦市 (these might be the wrong characters). Families often referenced the market town to help distinguish similarly named nearby villages.

    As for the 107 generations, Philip Tan (Tan is a Malaysian[?] spelling of Chin/Chan/Chen) has done a great deal of research in Chinese and English and collected many Chin registries. Very useful information, in English!, can be found at his website and at where his userid is: philiptancl The siyigenealogy board was (still is?) a helpful place for genealogy research for families from Toisan.


    These Geni profiles trace the Chan/Chen/Chinn/Tan/… surname. The trailing numbers refer to generation count from various important/famous ancestors. (I believe all of this was originally entered by Philip or someone using the information from the above websites)

    To find others you will need to know the tree or the Pinyin spelling of the name.

    Chen Hu Gong 陳胡公 — “the first Chen/Chin/Chinn/Chan/Tan/…”陳胡公én-Hú-Gōng-陳胡公-42-34-1G-Guī-Mǎn-媯滿/6000000000104035781

    Chen Feng Tai 陳鳳臺 is the “honorific” name for Chen Hui 陳輝, the “father” of the Chan/Chen/Chin/Chinn/Tan’s from Toisan and several areas of southeastern China. — I think 66 other families of servants and allies fled with them –én-Fèng-Tái-陳輝公-鳳臺-123-82-35-號-鳳臺/6000000003224933961

    Chén Xuān 陳宣124, 116, 83, 36, 1G
    — This branch first moved to XinHui/Sunwui 新會 county before eventually moving to XinNing/Sunning 新寧 county, modern day Toisan 台山.én-Xuān-陳宣124-116-83-36-1G/6000000003225692119
    “Note on Generation Numbers (124, 116, 83, 1世)

    Xuān is a 124th generation descendant of Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor) (2,697-2,597 BC), and following the patrilineal line of descent:
    a 116th generation descendant of Gui Shun Di, 媯舜帝, 9,1G (2,305-2,205 BC)
    a 83th generation descendant of Chén Hú Gōng 陳胡公, 42, 34,1G the first ruler of the Chen Kingdom
    a 36th generation descendant of Chén Shí Gōng, 陳實(寔)公, 89,81,48,1G founder of the Ying Chuan Branch of the Chen Family (潁川)”

    – some additional information about the fleeing can be found on the brother’s profileén-Mó-陳謨-124-83-36-1/6000000003225199627

    Chén Fènggé 陳鳳閣, 125, 84, 37, 2G — another famous ancestorén-Fènggé-陳鳳閣-125-84-37-2G/6000000003652288325

    *** Chén Tiānxiáng 裔昌/從善/天祥 settled 東山, 台山 128,120,87,40,5,1G ***
    *** this Chen settled in the Toisan 台山 area ***én-Tiānxiáng-裔昌-從善-天祥-settled-東山-台山-128-120-87-40-5-1G/6000000016684945001

    *** Chén YuánKāng 遷榮/元康/獲寓 ***
    *** this is the first Chen to settle/establish 朗美村 LongMei village ***én-Yuán-Kāng-遷榮-元康-獲寓-132-124-91-44-9-5G/6000000016684796200

    This is the last Chen in CCH’s branch that is in the Geni tree. (For those of you playing along at home with your secret decoder rings, look in the far right column on page 28 of 70. No, I can’t provide you with a copy… but others might, if you ask nicely). Notice the 10G, representing the tenth generation in Luk Tyun – the Six Villages – 六村. He is also 96G for Chen 陳 surname.

    Chén Lue 陳畧, 137, 129, 96, 49, 14, 10G (光)陳畧-137-129-96-49-14-10G-光/6000000023406253386

    CCH 陳程學, 148, 140, 107, 60, 25, 21G
    21G in Luk Tyun – the Six Villages – 六村.
    107G for Chen 陳 surname.
    17G in Long Mei 朗美 village.

  58. Ronin
    September 19th, 2014 | 1:13


    One Chinese page which has been copy-pasted all over the Chinese web provides a partial lineage for CGH 陈宜禧.

    g20: 陳良代 –> (1)實學, 哲學, (3)蘭學, 資學
    g21: 實學 –> ??, ??, (3) 陳宜禧 CGH

    The Chinese page notes that CGH 陳宜禧 was the third biological son of (1) 實學, but (3) 蘭學 did not have sons and “adopted” CGH 陳宜禧 into his line. This was a very common practice.

    The only Chinese page with this information provides no sources, no references, no links, no photographs, no scans, etc.

    None of the documentation available to me references 陳良代. No (identifiable) close relationship seems to exist between CGH 陳宜禧 and CCH’s 陳程學 fathers, grandfathers or great-grandfathers. It seems to imply that the term 族叔 should be interpreted as “族 clan 叔 uncle”: you’re a Chin (from the same line/generation poem) and you’re one generation older than me, we don’t know how we’re actually related.

    All of the above information is neither verified nor corroborated.

  59. Ronin
    September 19th, 2014 | 15:22

    Last post was too long. Trying again in two parts.

    Long Mei 朗美 is an area in Luk Tuen (Six Villages) 六村
    Luk Tuen 六村 is currently part of the Dausan 斗山 area, but it has been part of several different areas in the past.
    Dausan 斗山 is an area in Toisan 台山
    Toisan 台山 is an area in Canton 廣東

    (Think of it like street, neighborhood, city, county, state…)

    Toisan 台山 used to be known as Sunning/Xinning 新寧 before early in the 20th century, thus the Sunning/Xinning railroad 新寧鐵路.

    Toisan 台山 was originally one of the Szeyip (Four Counties) 四邑, but in the past few decades a fifth area has been added, creating the Five Counties 五邑

    The Six Villages 六村 is a collection of small villages centered around a market town 沙坦市 (these might be the wrong characters). Families often referenced the market town to help distinguish similarly named nearby villages.

    Some background information on Chan/Chen/Chin/Chinn/Chun/Tan/… can be found at

    Most of the 107 generations were posted (in a somewhat orderly fashion) by userid ‘philitancl’ at

    The siyigenealogy board was (still is?) a helpful place for genealogy research for families from Toisan.

    I’ll post the Geni links next.

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